Debby Ryan is ready to share her brave story of surviving an abusive relationship.
The 21-year-old Disney star, who has gained millions of fans thanks to her hit series Jessie, is opening up to Teen Vogue about a friendship that turned out to be unhealthy in more ways than one.
"I wasn't dating this person. This person considered themselves my best friend," she told the publication. "We also had a professional relationship and it was such emotional manipulation to the point where it became physical, and it stopped before it got too far."
She added, "The second someone puts their hand on you, a boundary has been crossed. If anyone is feeling manipulated or abused, that's the best it's going to get and you have to fight for yourself now."
Ryan, who assured fans that her former relationship with Twenty One Pilots drummer Josh Dun was not abusive at all, even shared personal moments where she felt frightened.
"I mean, he showed up across the country at a meet-and-greet of mine and said he needed to talk to me. I hadn't talked to him in a month. I told him to leave my life," she said. "So he threw a phone at me and it shattered to pieces and he was screaming, punching the wall and cussing me out. Then he started bawling and said he's sorry and loves me. And then grab me by the wrist and pull me in a bathroom and lock the door."
While Ryan is grateful she was able to leave the relationship before it was "too late," the actress hopes sharing her story will make a difference in young girls' lives today.
Just this week, Mary Kay announced Ryan will serve as the spokesperson and cause champion for their new "Don't Look Away" campaign that helps prevent and end dating abuse. By texting "love is" to 22522, teens and young adults can receive help from trained peer advocates anytime, anywhere.
"I thought I was stronger than that, and it can make you feel weak," she admitted. "To be able to know that you're worth more than that and fight for yourself is a really difficult thing."
For more information on domestic abuse or to get help for yourself or someone you love, visit the website for The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233